Woody Allen’s recent film, Midnight in Paris, has done much to revive nostalgia for the glory of Paris’s Belle Époque (while simultaneously counseling against the deceitful charms of nostalgia).  In it, Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard travel back to the 1890s and have dinner at Maxim’s, one of the most beautiful exemplars of art nouveau style in Paris.  Jean Cocteau said of it in its heyday: “I dined with Otéro and Cavalieri at Maxim’s, it was an accumulation of velvet, lace, ribbons, diamonds and what all else I couldn’t describe. To undress one of these women is like an outing that necessitates three weeks’ advance notice, it’s like moving house.”  Artists would document the evenings by painting the society regulators, one of which, in a famous caricature by Sempé of a strutting doyenne in a green gown – is now immortalized on the cover of the menu.  A long and illustrious list of famous and royal guests – everyone from King Edward VIII to Marcel Proust – has frequented the restaurant over the last century. 

It is unavoidable to acknowledge that the reason one goes to Maxim’s today is because of its history and its décor, still breathtakingly beautiful all these years later, even if increasingly haggard.   A cabaret singer performs in the evenings, there is gracious service from tails-clad waiters and the food can actually be quite good, albeit frankly not comparable to other similarly priced restaurants in Paris.  And as for velvet- and lace-draped courtesans, well, obese tourists is more like it.  Maxim’s golden era has, regrettably, passed, but it is still fun sometimes to take a carriage ride back into the past and attempt to relive its former glory. 


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8th Arrondissement
3 Rue Royale
+33 (0)1 42 65 27 94
Tues-Sat, 7pm–11pm
    Keiichi Scinohara, Chef


    • Paris
    • French
    • Best Decor
    • Best Service
    • Best Wine Lists
    • Historic
    • Private Dining Room


    • Zagat : 20


    • Billy-By chaud, paillettes au parmesan - Bisque de langoustines
    • Le Nid de Maxim’s - Caviar Oscietre et ses blinis
    • Oeufs de cailles pochés au caviar
    • Fricassée de homard panais et pousse d’épinards
    • Sole braisée Albert au Vermouth
    • Noisettes d’agneau Edouard VII, sauce périgeux, purée d’artichauts et jeunnes navets glacés
    • Poulet de Bresse en cocotte au beurre d’amande, pomme ratte en purée, épinards au beurre